7 Tips Your Managers Could Use to Increase Employee Happiness and Productivity

Listening to employees

If you could tell your manager just one thing he or she could improve on to make your workplace better for you and your colleagues, what would it be?

And how would you feel if this manager took your suggestion to heart and actually started improving this aspect of their leadership? You would probably feel very lucky to have this type of manager and this type of relationship with them.

Ok, so most managers could probably improve on more than one aspect of their managing style, but who doesn’t have multiple things about their working style that they could improve on. So starting with the most important thing first is usually the best place to start.

Managers play a big role in whether a company is successful, so if they don’t have the right tools, training and passion, the whole company will suffer. And a suffering company means lost happiness and along with that, lost profits

So, whether you are the CEO of your company trying to improve your employees’ happiness or you are young and new to a company, you all have one thing in common. You want your managers to keep improving.

Quick Story

I once worked for a tyrant of a boss. His bullying ways crushed the enthusiasm I had for my work.

A month into the job, he asked me to research buying minor league hockey jerseys from a nearby team. It wasn’t for work, just a task for him personally. I researched their website and called for some information and then gave him the report. He looked over the information and asked me what size the jerseys came in. I didn’t know. I hadn’t seen it on their website, and I hadn’t known to ask when I called.

He told me a monkey could do a better job than me. Slap! Right in the kisser. The sad part is I stayed there for another 1.5 years before I finally left.

Because of his crushing criticism, I gave up on trying to do anything well there. And it’s especially sad because I hurt myself as much as I hurt the company with my bad attitude. Instead of adding to my superpowers, I regressed.

Many people had tried to talk with him about his bullying, but he didn’t really listen. I guess listeningor changing wasn’t in his nature.

Which leads me to my 5 tips that a good manager uses with his or her employees.

1. Develop a Feedback Loop

Asking and listening to employees about what is going well and what isn’t going so well is so important to making them feel heard. If they don’t feel heard, they stop believing they matter.

Creating a simple feedback loop is the perfect place to start. I’ve recently worked with a company where we created an online Google doc where employees could voice their opinion and be anonymous if they wanted. They could just fill in the opinion section and leave the name prompt blank.

The CEO would then put the questions in a Word doc, answer the questions, and post his answers on their intranet and also email everyone a PDF.

We did create rules around submitting feedback. The questions, complaints, ideas, and appreciation had to be constructive, which meant no foul language, name-calling or pointing fingers. If an employee had a complaint, they also had to offer a solution.

The results have been positive and people have been respectful. One of the keys has been being consistent. Even when no one had filled out the form, the CEO sent out a message with an idea of his own, or just wrote that there were no questions that week.

Are you a manager that needs help developing a feedback loop that works? Contact me today to find out how I can help you unlock your employee’s superpowers.

2. Leverage Your Superpowers

You most likely have superpowers that aren’t being fully utilized at work. We all have passions, focus and strengths that aren’t utilized to our full potential. We get caught in treading water instead of striving for excellence.

How might you carve out time to leverage your superpowers for just 30 minutes every day?

Let’s say writing is one of your superpowers, but you are in the accounting department. What project is important to the company that you contribute to with your writing skills?

You need to test out if your potential superpower is a good fit for your company’s needs. When you can get a better understanding of what your company needs and how you can help meet that need using your superpowers, then you can create a win-win relationship.

The more win-win scenarios you can create in your career, the more successful you will be and the more leverage you will create, which means being able to pick and choose the projects you want to work on more often.

Do you need help working closer to your values and leveraging your superpowers? If so, check out the Unlock Your Superpowers Manifesto and 7 part course so you can develop your career into something that makes you happier and more successful.

3. Share Their Vision with You

Managers usually have a good idea of where they want their department to go, but they often don’t communicate it adequately to their staff. A good manager lays out the goals for the year, keeps track of how close the team gets to reaching them or exceeding them, and helps people understand what is expected of them on a frequent basis. We’ll talk about why this matters in #6.

Vision is important because your manager is a leader, not only a project leader, but an emotional leader as well. If they can’t help you and the whole team understand where they want the ship to head and why, no one will want to support their ideas.

If you want to help your team and your manager is open to it, the best place to start is to help your manager understand why they do what they do, help them map out a plan for the next 3, 6, and 12 months, and start to define what it will take to reach tho goals.

If you can assist your manager in clarifying their goals and timelines and how each member of the team can best contribute to the success of the team, when they share that vision with the team, it will help everyone get on board with where the team needs to go and how to best get from the current point A to the future point B.

4. Develop Emotional Connections Through Their Core Values

You might have seen me talk about core values on Domino Connection, my customer connection blog. People like buying from companies that have strong core values, and that can strongly influence their decisions.

Employees also like following managers that have strong core values because the employees understand why the managers make the decisions they do. The employees might not always agree, but at least they know why a decision was made.

I invite you to think about past or present managers with whom you got along well. I guarantee they were able to convey their core values effectively.

For example, who wouldn’t want to work hard for a manager whose core value is fairness. When people are evaluated based on the results they generate instead of nepotism or cronyism or prior friendship, it makes working hard much more rewarding.

If you want your manager to help your team explore core values that can help the team gel together, the best place to start is to ask a question about core values in a meeting. If you can come up with core values as a group, it can be quite a driving force for the team.

5. Explain the Expectations You Have for Them

One of the biggest complaints employees have for their managers is the lack of clear expectations. A manager that makes communication a priority and explains what they expect from his or her employees. helps an employee understand his or her role at work, and they know what is part of their work and what isn’t.

If you are unclear of what is expected of you at work, I suggest asking your manager for more specifics. This conversation can be difficult, but it’s better than the alternative of hoping that you are working on the right tasks and projects.

6. Include Employees on Goals

You’ve probably heard stories about managers that allow their employees to provide input on what their goals are for the year. This is a powerful tactic to develop more personal responsibility in team members. i.e. when employees help create their goals for success, they feel more responsible for reaching those goals.

The key is to make this a collaborative relationship. You and your manager should set out the criteria of where you want to be in 12 months, then discuss how you can get there.

If you have a clear goal, you can outline what this plan will look like on a weekly or monthly basis. Having a mutually agreed upon plan between you and your manager is much more empowering for you instead of just being told what is expected of you.

7. Gather the Team Together to Bond

A good manager makes time for the team to bond in order to reach its goals. If there are no emotional connections, then there is less teamwork and communication.

Teamwork is essential for a team to reach its goals, so what activities does your team have to gather and bond, and how can your manager foster even more team interaction?

The best advice is to schedule it.

A manager who wants to foster team cohesion and productivity could schedule a team brainstorming session from time to time (called a retrospective in the software world for people doing what is called “scrum”).

A good manager could also have a team meeting every month and encourage people to discuss what is working and what is not. You could buy lunch and have an informal discussion of the team status. A manager could even invite people out to happy hour then pay the first 2 rounds of drinks per person then take off because they want the team to bond with each other. They are the ones that need to work together to ensure the success of the team goals.

Next Steps

These are just some of the ideas I have and have learned for team building by management. If you want more team building ideas from an employee-initiated or manager perspective, please feel free to email me and we can set up a time to chat.

If you can encourage your manager or especially a CEO to pick even one of these ideas and give it a try, please let me know the results.

If you are an employee that wants to improve communication and happiness in your department, but don’t know howto get your manager to think about implementing the concept of core values in your workplace, talk to some other trusted employee who may be able to help you in this endeavor.

It’s all about baby steps. You don’t want to overwhelm your manager. So just start a very casual dialog around the concept of core values and whether they can explain what theirs are, and if they can, how it can help improve the productivity of everyone under them at work.

Your Turn

What would you add to the list? What have you seen work well for your managers?

* Do you need one-on-one help. I offer a career coaching package that helps you unlock your superpowers, so you can create a happier and more successful career.

The Official Work Happy Now Book is Here!

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That was me 5 years ago. That’s why I started Work Happy Now. I wanted to do great work, but didn’t know how.

I knew that the only way for me to do great work was to work on my attitude, my skills and my ability to get results. Every day I would sit and research what made people happy at work. Why were some people so good at being happy and accomplishing great work while others just loved to complain?

I saw the bullshit that I put up with. I saw the lack of focus and motivation because of my attitude. I realized how I was making it difficult on myself to be happy.
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You work with them about 8 hours a day, 250 days out of the year. Depending on your line of work, you may see them more than you see friends and family. Your co-workers are an integral part of your ability to do your job, to develop and succeed in your career and even to ensure your day-to-day happiness. In this year’s Randstad Work Watch survey on coworker relationships, 70 percent of respondents said that workplace friendships create a more supportive and friendly workplace. That’s why building healthy, trusting relationships with these people is so important.
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Work Happiness Tip – Tag Your Co-Worker

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A friend on Twitter told me that she likes to create tags for her co-workers.

I asked her what she meant and she explained that she likes to give out random acts of kindness to the people she works with. She draws beautiful pictures on pricing tags. She sent me these photos so I could share them with you.
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The Secrets to Workplace Leadership

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We all have this problem it’s just that most of us force ourselves to stay focused. My friend told me that he has tried giving this employee various kinds of work to see what interests him, but that didn’t work either.

I asked him if he ever sits down with his staff to explain the reasoning behind the work.

He said he didn’t. He never really thought of that because it’s pretty obvious to him. They need to design websites that exceed the customer’s expectations.

He was losing out on a huge opportunity. People often stop looking at the larger picture because they get comfortable. This comfortable feeling reduces their desire to go above and beyond the normal effort.

A study at the University of Alberta showed that people need a sense of purpose in order to feel engaged with their work. A ‘Spirit at Work’ intervention program for a group of long-term health-care workers boosted morale and job retention. This program urged employees to rethink their job, which reduced absenteeism by 60% and turnover by 75%.

“We discovered that people who are able to find meaning and purpose in their work, and can see how they make a difference through that work, are healthier, happier and more productive employees,” said Val Kinjerski, a University of Alberta PhD graduate who co-authored the study.
– E-science news gathered this information from the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.

By helping your people understand why they do what they do – you can increase happiness and productivity.

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Team Building Activity – Hint – Colorful Balls

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Jeff and his brother were promoting one of their gadgets at a conference and they bumped into a woman who was juggling, so they started juggling with her. They got to talking with the woman and hashed out a distributorship to sell the juggling balls throughout North America.

Their juggling package was the number 1 item sold for Father’s Day back in 1992.

They positioned their product as “Stress Relief for the Busy Executive.” An item that has been around since the pyramids in Egypt was the best selling product for fathers in the US. Jeff was able to do this because of a relationship that he created with the department stores.
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They make everything from scratch. They let the bees make the honey (Yes, they have their own bee farm in Vermont). They believe in high quality ingredients and excellent taste.

When I contacted Nichole, one of the owners, about helping them with their work happiness, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She was excited about the concept; I didn’t even have to do the hard sell.

We held the seminar on Sunday. Yes, I work on Sundays if that’s the best time for my client. Read their testimonial about my presentation – Karl Staib Presents His Work Happy Now Message.
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This is a guest post from Drew Tarvin

When I first started in the corporate world, I didn’t realize how little my fellow employees laughed.  It wasn’t until I started doing corporate stand-up gigs that I noticed the distinct lack of chuckles, giggles, and guffaws in the workplace.  The question is, why is laughter missing?

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How do I make my people happy?

So you want an atmosphere that encourages great work? Don’t we all. Most bosses and managers talk a good game, but they don’t create a plan to make it happen.

Almost every CEO I worked for always talked about the importance of their people, but their actions did not coincide with their words. They were always more worried about the bottom line.

I know how important it is to make money, but if the employees are happy then believe me, the money will come. That is if you have a good product/service.

It’s why Southwest airlines is the only consistent money generator in the USA airline industry. They believe in creating a culture that encourages happiness.

As a leader of people you need to encourage happiness in every facet of your business. I’ve created 10 techniques that will help your company be happy and successful.

  1. Be happy yourself.
  2. Know your people.
  3. Make time for your people.
  4. Show people the autonomy that they already have.
  5. Help them find meaning in their work.
  6. Listen and respond to their emotions, not their problems.
  7. Stop letting assholes dictate the company culture.
  8. Encourage friendships.
  9. Recognize hard work.
  10. Find out why people leave.

These are concepts that are easy to understand, but may be hard to apply to your company’s culture. I’ll break them down so you can use them in your company.

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